HEREFORDSHIRE Council leaders have agreed to commission an external investigation into why a report into student sex abuse was not shared with councillors.

The council commissioned and funded an investigation, in April 2017, into the handling of a case in which a local student was abused by another.

The report contained clear recommendations about how to shield a victim from their abuser and a proforma risk assessment to help schools keep victims safe.

These recommendations would have helped prevent other children being put back into school with their abusers.

But council officers did not share the report’s findings with scrutiny committee councillors or schools at the time.

Councillor Carole Gandy told a recent cabinet meeting she and her fellow scrutiny committee councillors were angry that information was withheld from them.

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“Not only that it brought about a delay in scrutiny coming forward with their recommendations, but it also resulted in myself giving misleading answers to public questions,” she said.

“Something that I would never knowingly do.

“I therefore welcome the independent inquiry as to why the CSO was withheld from scrutiny and would ask that this inquiry reach its conclusions as soon as possible.”

She also welcomed proposals to scrutinise record keeping and information sharing across the council’s children and families directorate.

“I can support the fact that this does not apply solely to this particular issue of peer on peer abuse.

“This is something which, although improving, is a problem across the directorate.”

Councillor Alan Seldon said there were issues of incomplete record keeping going back as far as 2012.

“Unfortunately, I have a long memory. I remember back in 2012 this authority received an inadequate Ofsted rating because of inconsistent and incomplete record keeping.

“To hear now that there are incomplete and incomplete record keeping going on during 2017 is quite disturbing really.

“I really welcome the independent review which must look at how all our social workers operate and how we relate to all the young people in our county so that this can never ever happen again.”